Remodeling Your Small Kitchen

April 22, 2018

What is a Small Kitchen?

Definitions vary according to the architect, designer, and/or homeowner across the country. Generally, however a classic 10' x 10' kitchen (100 square feet or less) is considered the benchmark of small kitchen sizing. 
Dimensions matter, too. A very narrow kitchen might still be thought a small kitchen. For example, a kitchen space that is 8 feet by 15 feet, or 120 sq. ft. would still be considered a small kitchen in most designer's minds.


What Are The Benefits of a Small Kitchen?

On the basis of square footage, kitchens are particularly costly to remodel. Compared to a living room, great room, or bedroom, (where you are dealing with no water, few electrical needs, and inexpensive materials such as drywall, trim, etc.,) the kitchen has many expensive services such as plumbing for sinks, dishwashers, and refrigerators and extra electrical needs for additional built-in lighting, dishwashers, garbage disposals, ovens and ranges, ventilation, and more. Materials (beyond high-end appliances) tend to be expensive, too. Consider the cost of granite, quartz, custom or stock cabinets, stainless steel, tile, flooring, etc. Good news: less square footage means less cost.

Are There Ways to Scale Down Those Big Kitchen Ideas?

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends mixing natural and ambient lighting, using space saving appliances, creating more unique storage solutions, and adding personalized touches to design an efficient and more spacious-looking kitchen.
The use of some upper cabinets with glass doors fools the viewer into seeing the back of the cabinet, thereby creating another foot or so of space. You can create an illusion of space with under, in-cabinet or above-cabinet lighting. Consider replacing old windows and doors with larger, more beautiful new ones that will let in more light. With the proper lighting, the kitchen can be made to appear larger and more pleasing.

Think about your needs in your current kitchen. While you might really want a large side-by-side refrigerator, recognize they take up lots of width in your small kitchen. Appliance manufacturers have come up with more compact space-saving appliances make small kitchen design easier, like refrigerators that are 24 inches deep rather than 30, as well as appliances like microwaves that can be hung underneath cabinets. Double sinks and farmhouse sinks, while appealing, also take up precious counter space. Is storage your first priority? Then you may need to maximize kitchen cabinets and get smaller appliances. Can you commandeer some space near the kitchen that can be used for items used infrequently? Do you really want a peninsula where you can eat? Then you may need to sacrifice counter space for food preparation to get it. Remember: It's your kitchen and you need to make these choices.


What are Some Ways to Make a Kitchen Look Larger?

1. Eliminate Clutter

Countertops crowded with dishes, food, and cookware (as well as cabinets topped by collectibles) swamp a small kitchen and cramp your work space. To enlarge the room visually, clear off the counters, the windowsill, and the cabinet tops, and stash as much as you can behind closed doors. To take it a bit farther, select simple European-style cabinetry with sleek flat-panel doors and drawers that save space consumed by traditional cabinetry.

2. Hide Your Small Appliances

Small kitchens often have storage challenges. Countertops can then become storage areas, but eradicating clutter will help any space feel larger. Reclaim lost storage space with an appliance garage. The cabinet conceals your coffeemaker, toaster, mixer, and such, but keeps them easy to access.

You can also stow bulky appliances like a mixer on an accessible pop-up shelf. A spring-loaded shelf readily lifts this stand mixer to counter height. Plus, the mixer can be used right on its shelf, thanks to an outlet inside the cabinet. (Believe it or not, my dad -a cabinet maker- did this for my aunt in the mid-sixties. Amazing!)

3. Eliminate Lost Storage Space

The backs of deep cabinets are spaces we rarely use. Installing lazy susans (which are far from new!) and roll-out shelves will take full advantage of all of your kitchen’s space.

4. Divide & Conquer

Transfer pots and pans from a cavernous lower cabinet to a deep drawer near your cooktop. (Dividers provide a spot for each pan and its lid, although this is an added expense.) Take into consideration the height of your largest pot plus its lid (or invert the lid) to ensure that the drawer is deep enough to accommodate it.

5. Pullout Mini-Pantry

Keep ingredients and cooking staples close to cooktops and ovens with handy pullout units. A narrow but deep gap could have been lost space, but the pullouts make the most of the awkward space and bring the cabinet contents into full vie

6. Spice Storage

Spices can also be organized with easily visible labels using slanted drawer inserts. Further reorganize their storage by placing spices into identical-sized containers.

You naturally notice that the amazing kitchens featured in design magazines are large, so you may assume that your small kitchen is going to be inadequate, even with a remodel.
                                         News flash: MOST kitchens are small.
Good kitchen designs are going to give you more effective lighting, space-saving (and energy efficient) appliances, effective and unique storage solutions, and add the personalized touches to provide a more spacious-looking kitchen. 

Please feel free to send us questions or pictures of your effective solutions. Need help? Give us a call!  Check out this website for further information.

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